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X's and O's: No-huddle impact among Week 2 trends to watch

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Brandon Lloyd will soon free Wes Welker from bracket coverage. (Getty Images)  
Brandon Lloyd will soon free Wes Welker from bracket coverage. (Getty Images)  

Finally, I have game tape to watch instead of just watching summer camp practices on my tour. Here are some of the trends in the game that intrigued me week one

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1. No-huddle offense: New England, Denver, Atlanta and Baltimore lead the way in the no-huddle concept. What makes it interesting is when they use it and what they are trying to accomplish. It really shows up in earned first downs. When New England and Baltimore move the chains, they like to go right to the ball and run a play, and it is a balanced offense from the shotgun no-huddle. New England and Baltimore averaged 6.5 a carry in the no-huddle run game. Atlanta used its no-huddle in the first half of the Kansas City game and went 9 for 10 and 121 yards with a TD and one sack. The Falcons didn't call a running play from the no-huddle but that will change this week at home. The days of defensive coaches watching the opposing offenses substituting personnel and using their computer reports to predict tendencies and send in the right defensive personnel is quickly coming to an end. These no-huddle offenses aren't going to let defenses freely sub.

2. The Lloyd Factor: Don't worry about Wes Welker being phased out of the Patriots offense. Teams continue to bracket cover him with an inside and an outside defender, and Brady simply knows Brandon Lloyd is single covered and goes right to him. It will not take long for defenses to double the deep-threat Lloyd and rally back to Welker on the short routes. Lloyd is already creating the same effect that Randy Moss once did for the Patriots and Welker.

3. Concussions: Six players are on the injury report with concussion issues: Darrelle Revis (Jets), Gerald Sensabaugh (Dallas), Daniel Thomas (Miami), Dwight Bentley (Detroit), Terrell Manning (Green Bay) and Devery Henderson (New Orleans) -- five defensive players and one offensive player. So far it looks like the hitter is suffering more than the man hit. Six in Week 1 means right now we are on pace for 102 players listed with a concussion. Believe me, as players see that the league is not going to let some of these men play right away, they are going to do everything in their power not to disclose they have concussion symptoms out of fear of losing their job or being labeled concussion prone.

4. The 49ers run game: Mike Ditka told me today that the 49ers are the best team in the NFL because they have the same "punch-you-in-the-mouth attitude" their coach has. Ditka called Jim Harbaugh the most competitive player he knew. That's saying a lot with the guys he had in Chicago.

5. It was the impossible: The Giants, Packers, Steelers and Saints all opened the season with losses. Does anyone think all four could lose again in Week 2? In the last four years (2008-2011), none of these teams started a season 0-2. All four went to the playoffs last year and had a combined record of 49-15. I would be more surprised if all four don't win this weekend.


Pat Kirwan has been around the league since 1972, serving in a variety of roles. He was a scout for the Cardinals and Buccaneers, a coach for the Jets as well as the team's Director of Player Administration where he negotiated contracts and managed the team's salary cap. He is the author of Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look, and the host of Sirius NFL Radio's Moving the Chains.
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